Archive for the ‘Shopping Search Engines’ Category

Search is Growing, But Not All Engines

<< by Kaitlyn Smeland Dhanaliwala on July 16th, 2008

According to Hitwise yesterday, Google’s share of total search traffic increased again to 69.17% for the month of June 2008.  Yahoo received 19.62% of all traffic, and MSN received 5.46%.  The numbers represent losses in share for Yahoo and MSN and a gain of 5.25% for Google over June 2007.

The disparity between the search engines is even greater in the UK search market.  In the UK, Google received a share of 87.34% of all search traffic during June 2008 while Yahoo and MSN received only 4.0% and 3.72%, respectively.

Perhaps the most interesting statistics of the report are found in the breakdown of search engine usage by industry.  The portion of total website traffic from search engines increased by double-digit percentages in the Travel, News and Media, Entertainment, Business and Finance, Sports, Online Video, and Social Networking industries.

In all of these industry categories- as well as the Shopping and Classifieds industry- the share of traffic specifically from Google is greater than that of all other search engines combined.

So not only is search becoming an increasingly common way for consumers to shop and gather everyday information, but Google is at the front of the pack, claiming most of the new search engine traffic.

Landing Pages & Awful Websites

<< by Des Taggart on January 31st, 2008

Do you have a client who has a product–perhaps a good product–perhaps … not so good? Do you have that same client that has a need for a landing page or a series of landing pages to function at various capacities? Whether said company requires a boost in sales, product recognition, philosophy exposure or just an overall brand blast, the landing page(s) to accommodate a client’s needs is always a tricky venture. Especially when the landing page(s) “should” mirror the client’s look and feel–their brand.

Most clients you encounter have a fairly suitable parallel to both online and print branding schemes. But the question as it relates to online needs–in this case landing pages sometimes hit a a crack in the “super highway”–sometimes these cracks are more like chasms.

chasm: pronunciation, \’ka-zem\; function, noun; etymology, Latin chasma;

  1. a deep cleft in the surface of a planet (as the earth) : gorge
  2. a marked division, separation, or difference
  3. when a client’s website is so poor that designing and building a landing page to promote a client’s seo/ppc needs becomes more of a challenge than the 300 Spartans who faced insurmountable odds to fight the 1.7 million Persians in Thermopylae.

What is the fight we Spartan designers face today? The fight–the challenge is to create a
landing page that mirrors the brand of our client(s)–a brand that suffers due to an awful website. Whether the client’s website is poorly designed and/or developed, we sometimes face insurmountable odds to gain the immediate attention of the viewing audience.

How do we overcome these sometimes overwhelming odds? Communication is always the first response. Communicate a plan of attack with the client. Provide honest battle plans as it relates to the client’s online presence–without comprimising the alliance gained with the client to the enemy. The line in the sand is very thin when it comes to this challenge we all face. Brand adherence is a must and should never be deviated from … Sometimes overcoming challenges on the battlefield is to dig in and not only be super-creative, but to be able to adapt and overcome.

Now … what are you going to do?

not clear to land …

<< by Des Taggart on January 16th, 2008

This is web traffic control, and you are not clear to land. I say again, you are not clear to land. Landing pages today have come a long way from what they were–even months ago! Yet, we are still in a world where the traffic is becoming more and more demanding, saavy and impatient. Passengers who wish to land want to enjoy immediate access–convenience, comfort and efficiency … Who dares to land upon a page that is downright ugly–aesthetically?? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but what is “beauty”? A thesis of information and multiple images and lengthy forms … well, that’s certainly a start to sexy gone terribly bad!

If you experience turbulance you may be asked to be seated and fasten your seat belts. We ask you to please observe the safety regulations located in the seat pocket in front of you … Is the landing unsafe for passengers? Does this require secure information? Do visitors hoping to land have faith in your ability to put together a clean landing–a safe and appropriate landing that is secure when needed?

In the event of a water landing, we ask you to stay calm and remove the seat cushion located underneath you as this acts as a natural floating device … oops, I’m sorry Maam, you seem to not have one! Nothing worse than typing in that golden keyword and linking directly to a blank–missing landing page! OUCH–that will surely drown the client.

Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, please don’t mind if the lighting does not work or the seats don’t work properly–and oh, the bathroom can only allow people up to 180 lbs., otherwise we cannot assure you the best comfort possible, but due to the outdated conditions, we will have to ask you to not worry if you typed in a keyword that has nothing to do with what you’re seeing currently. Yikes! Almost as bad as no landing page is an obsolete landing page.

The captain would like to thank you all for flying with us today, and apologizes for the lengthy delay as the plane was loaded down with more content, images and extraneous code than needed. Please excuse the multiple misspellings in your air safety card, as we were lucky enough to land safely … or were we!?!?!?!

Back to School Savings

<< by Des Taggart on August 7th, 2007

Back to school we go … The world of SEO and PPC is an evolving pandora’s box when it comes to mastering Landing Pages. What are the goals for each SEO/PPC company? What are the goals of each and every client currently on board and those who hide in the shadows awaiting that perfect pitch from someone–that company who can in-turn listen to client’s needs, mold thoughts, enhance brand and solidify goals …

Conversion, boys and girls, is where it all begins. One of the main outlining thoughts to achieving that perfect GPA in landing page success is establishing a landing page that successfully responds with response … I’m sure english professors are wanting to slap me on the wrist with that ruler! Respond with response–is to establish a message that is clear and concise … direct and to the point. Respond with response is to answer questions before they’re asked.

Keep it simple stupid … Less is more … the simplicities of a landing page 90% of the time speak volumes to the needs and immediate requirements for a visitor who hits your landing page. Students … for the first time, I’m allowing you to utilize the idea of “cliff notes”. That’s right, cliff notes!

Landing pages are not and should not be a novel! Get to the point with dedicated brand establishment. Never leave a question in your visitor’s mind as to who the client is and/or what they’re learning about. Summarize the key points/goals to what you and your client needs to convert. Understand your audience. Are you writing a book report to an audience that has one interest–perhaps ecommerce? For instance if in fact you’re trying to establish an ecommerce solution where the goal(s) of the client is to convert for sales, then landing pages should not only be to-the-point, but look and achieve a totally trustworthy approach. Is your client looking for true measurement of visits and collection of visitor information? Forms … Forms are in many cases a necessity for collecting information. Kids, do you want to fill out a form that has 12 fields or a form of 5 fields? The number one reason for abandonment of a landing page is an overload or saturation of information–a close second is the overuse of extraneous form fields.

The quick 5 study habits …

  1. Brand identity
  2. Understand audience
  3. Eliminate extraneous elements
  4. Important elements “above the fold”
  5. Conversion focus … test, test, test!

Mobile Search – Don’t Believe the Hype?

<< by Tad Miller on February 14th, 2007

A very wise man told me in my youth to “Don’t Believe The Hype”. I’m pretty sure Chuck D. wasn’t talking about mobile search back in the day, but a new study by The Mobile Entertainment Forum and Ovum made me think for a second that he might have been. The study says that only 20% of United Kingdom mobile phone subscribers actually use mobile search.

Just 20% of UK subscribers actually search for content on the mobile internet, despite an industry perception that 89% do, according to research released today, from the Mobile Entertainment Forum and Ovum.

Even more interesting, only 2% are searching everyday, and most of that seems to be for ringtones or games for phones.

Despite subscribers not searching on the mobile internet as often as the industry expects (only 2% searching on a daily basis), those that do are downloading premium material, rather than just surfing.

Aren’t the European’s supposed to me more advanced users of mobile phones than Americans?

There are all kinds of companies gearing up for mobile search and marketing, and there is a lot of data out their touting it as the next big thing. The Mobile Marketing Association is the champion of the movement. With the advent of the iPhone I have to admit I can see it the potential myself.

A good recent article on clickz expanded on this topic and gave some pretty interesting mobile search usage data:

In December, four million unique users visited Yahoo’s mobile search interface, while Google had slightly more than that, at 4.5 million, according to M:Metrics. Search services from MSN and AOL trailed, at just over a million users each.

So what are you left to believe? Conflicting usage data, all the press about mobile search being the next big thing (Hype?)?

I think the best approach for most companies is to prepare for mobile search, but realize it’s going to take a while for real mobile search traffic to positively influence your website traffic and sales.

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